Skip to main content

McKee, Stephen J.



Born on November 17, 1952, Stephen J. McKee was raised in York, Pennsylvania. At the age of 16, he witnessed his 50-year-old father suffer a fatal heart attack, an event that shaped McKee’s life. He graduated from York Catholic High School in 1970 and Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales (now DeSales University) in 1974. After college, McKee spent eight years in Alaska, first with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps teaching in a native boarding school and then studying journalism at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. He married Noreen D’Ottavio, also from York, PA, while living in Alaska.

McKee left Alaska to pursue research for his first book, “The Call of the Game,” published in 1987. He traveled around the country for a year attending 54 sporting events. He later wrote his second book, titled “Coach,” as an oral history of the coaching profession. It was published in 1994.

He joined the Wall Street Journal as a copy editor in 1994, becoming the first sports editor of the Weekend Journal section and in 2001 the first writer for the online sports column, “The Daily Fix.” While at the Wall Street Journal, McKee wrote a pair of articles about his lifelong efforts to prevent the heart disease that killed his father. After learning he did have heart disease in 2005, he began his third book, a memoir about his father and family history of heart disease. “My Father’s Heart: A Son’s Journey” was published in 2008. McKee also wrote a stage adaption of the memoir as a one-man, one-act play.

In addition to his published writing, McKee created numerous unpublished writing projects throughout the years. These include a memoir titled “Facing Peter, Facing AIDS” about his cousin’s battle with AIDS in the 1980s, and a blog about the early sports history of DeSales University titled “Centaur Seasons.”

McKee died in 2014, and is survived by his wife Noreen and son Patrick.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Steve McKee Papers

Identifier: DSU-Trexler-24

Steve McKee was a graduate of DeSales University, professional writer, and longtime editor at the Wall Street Journal. He wrote extensively on sports and about his family history of heart disease. His papers were donated to DeSales University posthumously and depict his major written works and his writing process.

Dates: Majority of material found within 1984-2014